Formatting fake time signatures

I want to reproduce something like the attached. The composer’s original time signature notation often has long bars and complex rhythms which need to be split up for easier reading.

I want to copy the method done in another program, using normal sized time signatures in the staves and the composer’s original time signatures as system text above the top staff of the score.

I’m trying to make this work using system text in Dorico, using the glyphs from Clearly the “Control character for numerator.denominator digit”
glyphs are meant to be used somehow, and this document (pages 40-41) gives some clues, but I can’t find the “right” way to put all the pieces together, either to make a time signature with single digits (e.g 9/4) or with a two-digit numerator centered over the denominator (e.g. 10/4).

Note: the other notation program obviously “cheated” by using a different font for the fake time signatures, but Dorico and Smufl should be able to do better than that!

Here’s a short thread (which you may already know) on creating time signatures with shift-X text, and unicode hex input.

Sometimes the control character doesn’t work for me, and I have to enter the numerator and denominator separately, and adjust them in Engrave mode (for example, 4/8). But sometimes the control character works fine (I think it worked in 5/8); I’m not sure why I find it inconsistent.

Thanks Stephen. The “recommended ligatures” in the smufl PDF were the other way round with the control character after the digit, which was “nearly working” but not right!

This is still not working in all cases. If I generate a 12/8 time signature using Daniel’s recipe E09E E081 E09E E082 E09F E088 that works fine. However if I try to generate 10/8, 12/4 or 10/4 the same way I get the various wrong results as in the attachment.

Is this a bug in the font, or does it require some different input?

This is on Windows not Mac, if it matters. I’m selecting the characters using the Windows character map app. (There shouldn’t be any issue with selecting the wrong characters, since the character map shows the “E” numbers.)
Fake time signatures.png

I encounter similar problems on Mac. For now, I’m just using the numerator and denominator as separate glyphs, and positioning them by hand.

It’s not a bug, Bravura just doesn’t contain the appropriate ligatures. The font falls back to parsing smaller parts of the string that it can combine to existing ligatures, in this case each single pair of control character and number (or the 2/4 part of 12/4).

Edit: Bravura contains only these pre-built time signatures:

OK, so the work round is create a character style with 0% leading between the rows, then make two lines of centered text using the non-printing characters to position the numerator and denominator.

Fiddly to do, but it looks right.
Fake time signature - success.png


I can understand your desire to show the original time signatures, even though, for the sake of both conductor and performers, you are subdividing such overly long bars, which can go up to something like 16/4, into smaller, more meaningful ones. Using dotted barlines between the newly created subbars, and solid barlines between the original long ones, is clearly the best approach. This is what I had to do in the works for chamber ensembles I edited, but I did not try to add the original time signatures as you seem ready to do. I don’t think that performers benefit much from the information. I am glad that you found a way to create the appropriate signatures. I guess that you will have create all possibilities from 1 to n (the value of which I cannot say for sure) for the denominators 2, 4, and 8, and then copy from your list for each instance. Sad that it will mean so much copying and pasting.

I agree they are probably no use in the parts, but keeping them in the score doesn’t take much space and preserves what the composer actually wrote.

From experience with early (16th century) music, editorial tidying up irregular barring can sometimes remove ambiguities that were probably meant to be ambiguous - though it’s probably a necessary evil in works that need a conductor.